Arson is defined the same in Federal and New Jersey state law. The New Jersey state statute that deals with arson is N.J.S. 2C:17-1. Under this statute, arson is defined in two varieties; ordinary and aggravated. Ordinary arson is the lesser of the two. Under state law, it is not possible to have either crime expunged from a criminal record.
Arson and aggravated arson are very similar. However, ordinary arson has fewer elements than aggravated arson. Like aggravated arson, a person can be found guilty of this crime if they start a fire or cause an explosion on their property or property owned by someone else. The same elements that apply to aggravate arson apply to ordinary arson (see five elements above). However, it is not necessary for significant damage to occur to be charged with ordinary arson. The fire doesn't even have to be successful. Instead, an ordinary arson charge only needs one of the elements above to be an indictable crime.
Arson in the first degree is commonly referred to as "arson for hire." A person can be charged with arson for hire if any of the elements below apply.